Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Great Big Feather Bed Hodgepodge

Hi-ho, Kermit the Frog here.

Sort of, not really, but may as well be, considering it feels like the last time I blogged was the last time the Muppets were all the rage.

How about some Hodgepodge mania?

1. On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate your summer so far? Why?
(1=eh and 10=best summer ever)

About a 2.   On the fun scale thus far, we've done almost zilch as a family. I haven't been in the water ONCE. No pool, no lake, no ocean. Nothing. I don't have four kids begging me to take them places. I have one son left at home, and he enjoys playing video games. I've also had the privilege--ahem!--of helping him write four papers for English. Sad, but true. I've been sewing a lot, though, and that's enjoyable, but still --when I think of my summer right now, the word is "eh".  We will be taking a vacation to the ocean in August, and I can hardly wait.

2. July 26th is National Aunts and Uncles Day. Did you have many aunts and uncles growing up? Were you especially close to any one or maybe all of them? Are you an aunt? (or uncle for the men who join here on Wednesdays) Share a favorite memory relating to one of your own aunts or uncles or relating to a niece or nephew who call you Aunt (or Uncle).

Aunt Linda, my mom's only sister, has always been my favorite. She was a hippie when I was little and into my teens. Her first apartment had psychedelic hanging beads between the kitchen and living room, and she smoked cigarettes that I liked to "flick out" when the ashes were about to drop.  She wore maxi skirts and halter tops, and listened to far-out music that was quite far out from the Baptist hymns I was used to, let me just say.    Aunt Linda collected antiques and her specialty was antique quilts. She had a bed so tall that I had to use the wooden step stool to climb into it, and when I did, she and I would talk a long time. My sisters and I each got a turn to sleep in that great big featherbed with her when we traveled to her Ohio home with Mama,  having her all to ourselves. She was the adult that every kid needs--not a mom, but a cool adult. She wasn't a Christian; she was rather naughty with her language at times, and would belch quite loudly, and oh boy could she cook! Her culinary skills are top notch.  Nothing ever came from a box or can. She was a fresh produce/fresh meat/fresh everything kind of cook.

When she moved from Ohio to Santa Fe, she opened a bed & breakfast. It's called Casa Pacifica. You ought to check it out if you're in the area, and tell her Zoanna sent you.

I am Aunt Zo, or "Ee-Zo" as my 3 year old niece calls me. Nieces and nephews ranging in age from late 30's down to "in utero."  My youngest niece or nephew is to be next month, right around my birthday!! That will send my summer rating from 2 to 10!

3. What's your favorite food dipped in chocolate? What's your favorite food dipped in cheese?

In chocolate? Strawberries.   In cheese? Nachos.

4. When were you last astonished by something? Explain.

Last night while watching America's Got Talent. There was a very young girl who sang with such power and beauty that I had chills. Where does such a voice come from? From God, that's where!

5. Surf board, paddle board, ironing board, Pinterest board, score board, clip board, bulletin board...which board have you most recently encountered?

Pinterest board, this morning. I was searching for two vastly different things: inspiration for a greige for our rental property that we'll be selling and 2) quilts with a sea creatures theme because I have a gorgeous fabric that needs the perfect pattern.

6. What's your favorite story from scripture? Why that story?

Joseph. His brothers sold him into slavery because they were jealous of him. They then lied to their dad that he was eaten by a wild lion. In the king's palace, Joseph was falsely accused of rape by the king's wife, and was sent to the slammer for it. Joseph interpreted dreams in prison, including one that prophesied of seven years feast followed by seven years of famine. He rose from prison to power, all the while longing to be reunited with his brothers and father. When his brothers come begging for food years later because of a famine, Joseph--who has stored seven years' worth of food--has the power to feed or forsake them. He cries in private when he sees them, overcome with emotion. They don't recognize him because he's royal and speaks a foreign language.  All they want is mercy in the form of food. He doesn't just hand them food--he invites them to sit at his table and--to their utter bewilderment--he puts their seating arrangement in birth order because he knows them.  He then reveals himself to them, forgives them of all their sins against him, and bestows blessings and riches upon them.

They are undone by His mercy and kindness.

Why is it my favorite story? Because I'm not so good at forgiving when I've been done wrong for much, much less.  I want to be like Joseph, like Jesus.

7. If you were to travel from the east coast to the west coast in your own country, which five cities would you most want to see?

Portland, Maine (I got a few hours on the southern tip of ME and would love to go back and just soak in the beauty);  St. Paul, Minnesota (just because); Santa Fe, NM (where my Aunt Linda lives but I've NEVER been --gasp!); Cheyenne, Wyoming ("God's country"); Portland, OR (scenery and quilters' mecca).

8. Insert your own random thought here.

 As some of you recall. my 27 year old daughter is living in Louisville, KY for the summer, doing a volunteer internship with a ministry called Love Thy Neighbor. Her stories always elevate my thinking and increase my love for God (and for her). She is working in a bakery with women who have come out of the sex industry. 

Her team makes home-cooked meals every Thursday and delivers them to the dancers at a local strip club. (The dancers appreciate the kindness of the "church ladies" as they call them!) Sarah and others enjoy going to the park to hang out with local families and play with kids. They serve in medical clinic waiting rooms, distracting kids under stress with games and puzzles. They have helped new neighbors move in, they made up a travel basket for a single old man who became a grandpa and was driving long distance to see the new baby. They make themselves available to neighbors by sitting on the front porch and being on the lookout. (Sarah once called it a cop-out, but when that shy old man, who never spoke to them, had his daughter deliver roses to Sarah and her roommates as a thank-you, she almost cried.)

When a Christian parent looks up to a child for inspiration as to how to really live, there's no better feeling in the world.

Saturday, July 02, 2016

Bone Appetit

This is the first quilt I've made for Project Linus.  

The coordinator of the chapter near me says that the hospitals could use more boy quilts. Knowing that chemo rooms can be cold, I wanted my quilt to have a flannel back.  I knew I wanted puppies. 

I found this print online and snatched up 2 yards of it.  (After quilting, this is the back.)

I asked on a quilting forum if anyone could donate 6.5" puppy prints for me. 
Well, I was DELUGED by generous amounts. I have enough to make 201 more!
Narrowing the choices I was sent to turquoise, navy, tan, orange, black, white, grey, and red sure 
helped guide my choices.  

Originally I was going to do a simple sashing between blocks. But do I ever stick to original plans? No! They call me Queen Plan B for a reason. 

I played around with sashing (ie borders around blocks) and just had fun. 

I put in two of each print so the child who gets this can play Concentration. 

Most of the dogs are realistic looking, but there are some whimsically colored ones. 
Aren't they cute?

I decided to quilt a bone into each block using FMQ (free motion quilting). 

While making this quilt, I prayed for the boy who will receive it. (Could be a girl, but I'm hoping boy.)  I pictured him either  missing his own dog, or hoping for one when he's well.

I took these photos outside on my deck, with the quilt draped over my porch swing cover
which is turquoise.   It's not part of the quilt!

Bone Appetit!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Lotsa Good News in the Hodgepodge

It's the Hodgepodge Day, but it's also my hubby's birthday. Woot! Thanking God today for sparing his life. This year was monumental as we went through his heart surgery ordeal together. But he's on the mend more and more, doing and going a bit more all the time.

Let's see what our Hodgepodge hostess, Joyce, is asking us this week, shall we?

1. It's officially summer (in the northern hemisphere anyway). Which summer month is best and why?

August--because it's my birth month, of course! 

2. Can you swim? How did you learn? June 27th is National Sunglasses Day. How many pair do you own?

Yes, I can swim. My mom taught me the basics, and swimming lessons at the municipal pool improved upon that. I love to swim.  I have one pair of prescription sunglasses and a couple cheapo pairs.
3. What characteristic do you judge most harshly in yourself? How about in others?

A tendency to talk too much, which I've purposefully trained myself not to do as often, and listen more. 
The trait I hate in others is superiority which manifests in condescension. I hate being talked down to!  I hate hearing others talked down to.  Mama Bear comes out when people act that way to my kids, regardless their age!

 Case in point: Recently our second son, Steve, was with a hiring manager at his workplace (he does computer programming at a well-known investment firm). Steve's boss has been creating this position for him for a few months, knowing our son's skill, talent, and work ethic (after 3 years) even at the tender age of 24. Steve knew what the pay should be, based on research. Well, Mr HR starts in with, "You know you're only like 2 years out of college, so an offer of __________ is about the best we can do,"  yada yada.  Steve reminded him he's been with the company for 3 and 1/2 because he started out as a college intern and has been with this same team for as long. His boss saw his value and initiated a position. Steve stuck to his guns and got what he wanted and felt he deserves, but not without getting that irked feeling when you get as if dealing with a used car salesman.  

4. Robert Frost wrote the now well known poem entitled The Road Not Taken. What's a road (literal or figurative) you've always wanted to travel, and where do you hope it takes you? 

I've always wanted to travel the US without a destination in mind--just go here, there, and everywhere with someone else who truly wants the same thing.  One long road trip, seeing famous sites and landmarks, finding hidden scenic treasures, meeting people in quaint towns who've been there all their lives and love it.  

5. Popsicles-yay or nay? If you answered yay, what's your favorite flavor? 

Eh--they're okay. I seldom have a hankering for one, but when I do, please give me grape.

6. Brexit-on a scale of 1-10 how knowledgeable are you on what's involved here? (1=very knowledgeable and 10=what's Brexit) Is this news you'll follow or is it something you think won't impact your life in any way shape or form?

I wish I could say 10, but I'm afraid 5 is more like it.  Honestly, I think fear more than apathy is what keeps me from trying to know more. I'm becoming more of an ostrich as time passes and the world appears to be collapsing. Put my head in the proverbial sand and hope nothing bothers me. I'm deluded, I know.
7. Share a favorite song on your summer play list.

I'm easy to please as long as you give  me 80's love songs.

8. Insert your own random thought here. 

This couple celebrated 3 years of marriage last Wednesday, bought and moved into their first house, and he started his new job all in the same week!  She was able to quit a job she doesn't like and can be Suzy Homemaker for a while, feathering her nest which she is really good at. I'm a happy mother and mother-in-law, gotta say!

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Caution: High Winds in the Hodgepodge

Thanks to our friendly, neighborhood hostess, Joyce. we have yet another batch of Hodgepodge questions. By "neighborhood" I mean the world, but it feels rather cozy in Cyberville much of the time.

Pardon my long-winded post, but I must share some really exciting news. Something that most of us don't get the privilege of having in a lifetime, but it happened to me last week.

Since September I've been tutoring two siblings (sister and brother)  who are originally from China. In addition to their academic subjects, I would occasionally add some Bible reading. I gave each one a Bible as a Christmas gift because they didn't have one. In fact, they didn't even know how to pronounce "Jesus."   L said "Jess-iss"--and they didn't know a thing about God, Jesus, the Bible, or anything related to Christianity.   But gradually, over the past nine months, I have been reading with them the story of Creation, Noah and the flood, the birth, ministry, miracles, and gospel of Jesus Christ.  Both kids have been sponges, asking great questions, wanting more stories, more answers.

This past Thursday ,I felt prompted by the Lord to ask the girl if she was ready to accept Christ, and she said, "Yes!"  But then immediately looked sad and said, "But, what if I sin right after I do that?"

Bless her tender heart. I told her I'm 50 years old and still sin many times a day. But the good news,  I said, is simply that if she confesses the sin to God,  repents and asks His forgiveness, He will forgive her because he loves her. She was satisfied with that answer, and then we prayed together for her salvation. We were so happy and I hugged her, welcoming her to the Family of God.

 I am floating on air!!

1. I read here a list of 13 things you should do in June. I'm paraphrasing a little but basically...

Go on a road trip with your best friend, pick fresh strawberries, host a garden party, take a morning run, treat yourself to a flower bouquet, spend a whole day hiking, discover a new coffee shop, try a new ice cream flavor, read at least one book, visit a Farmer's Market, make a swing for your home, and visit a new city. 

Which thing on the list do you most want to do? Of the activities mentioned, which one holds the least appeal? How many on the list will you attempt in June? What's one thing you'd add to the list?

Well, I  did a lot of those things in one road trip to Kentucky at the end of May. Lexington was my "new city" to visit, which really meant seeing it from the road when we got a little lost. 

From the list, I'd most want to check out the newest coffee shop in town. The owner is a 17 year old girl, Jade, who bought the shop from her previous boss, with $6000 inheritance money from her grandmother, and her dad's help.  She had always dreamed of becoming an entrepreneur, and now here she is, fresh out of high school, the owner of The Jaded Bean.  Local musicians play live on the weekends, and the reviews are outstanding. Will it happen in June? Quite possibly.

Which thing would I like least? Running. I haven't enjoyed running since I was 9 years old.
What would I add?  Meeting a blogging friend for the first time in person.

2. What's something you could do today to feel more peaceful? 

Pray.  I'm having trouble forgiving someone and I'm dealing with a difficult parenting situation.

3. June 7th is National Chocolate Ice Cream Day. Are you a fan? Swiss mocha, rocky road, chocolate chocolate chip, peanut butter and chocolate, or a dish of plain chocolate...what's your pleasure? 

My favorite chocolate flavor is Jamocha Almond Fudge from Baskin Robbins. It's been my favorite since I waas little. My Granny owned a BR store and we got to try all kinds, of course.   The best was Jamocha Almond Fudge on a sugar cone.  But , as I said earlier, I've given up dairy and sugar because both have been my worst health enemies.

4. If you came with a warning what would it say?

I asked my  8th grade son if my warning would be "CAUTION: EXTREMELY HOT !" He gagged. "Not hardly, Mom. Just the opposite."   

Hmm, 30 years ago  I might have answered, "CAUTION: CURVES,"  but now it's more like "CAUTION: FALLING ROCKS."  

A friend was going to buy me a T-shirt that says, "I'm the Grammarian About Whom Your  Mother Warned" because I do notice poor grammar, spelling, and punctuation everywhere, ad nauseum.

  5.What's the most interesting website you've visited in the last week? .   I'm quite inspired by those quilts.

6. Spring, summer, autumn, winter...which season are you? Why? 

Do you mean which is my favorite?  Autumn.  
Do you mean which "colors" do I wear? Spring.
Do you mean my age and outlook on life? I'd say summer. I'm no spring chicken, but at 50, I think I'm relaxed and kicked back, but am planning for "colder weather," shall we say?

7. "You lose sight of things...and when you travel, everything balances out." ~Daranna Gidel

Would you agree with that sentiment? Explain why or why not.  

Yes ,I would agree indeed. Traveling makes you remember this world is big and you are not. Traveling helps you notice the grandeur of nature, the diversity of cultures. It changes your pace and rhythm a bit.

8. Insert your own random thought here. 

Last night my new little convert/sister in Christ said, "Guess what, Miss Zoanna? I have decided that I'm going to read the whole Bible this summer!"